Music
The Manchester Review

Manchester Folk Festival: Quiet Loner at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, reviewed by Fran Slater

Late afternoon on the last day of the inaugural Manchester Folk Festival, and we were with Quiet Loner at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. One look at the instruments waiting on the stage, from the slide guitar to the banjo, via the acoustic guitars and the accordion, and you might imagine you were at a […]

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The Manchester Review

Michael Kiwanuka, The Lowry, reviewed by Fran Slater

Before we move onto the headline act, we’ll need to take a little bit of time to talk about the support. Because Bedouine was quite stunning. Alone on a stage that would later hold a band of eight or nine, Bedouine not only commanded the space but also brought a silence into the crowd that […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Folk Festival: John Smith at Gorilla, reviewed by Fran Slater

John Smith, with Georgia Lewis and Nina Harries; Gorilla, 19 October 2017. I hate to say it, but it feels like Manchester Folk Festival may have created a rod for their own backs right from the very start. Because this event will be difficult to match. With sets from three very different acts, the festival […]

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The Manchester Review

Kuss Quartet, The Stoller Hall, reviewed by Simon Haworth

Kuss Quartet, The Stoller Hall, 12 October 2017. The Stoller Hall is still so new to Manchester that the distinctive smell of the wood which lines most of the auditorium’s walls subtly pervades its attendant audience. Opened in April this year, the hall is fairly unassuming from the outside as you pass Victoria Station and […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Jon Savage at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, reviewed by Chad Campbell

Jon Savage: Burgess, Punk and the Sex Pistols, introduced by Andrew Biswell, The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 17 October 2017. Jon Savage moved with Punk to Manchester in the late seventies after the Sex Pistols’ famous ‘76 ‘June Show’ at the Lesser Free Trade Hall; a gig attended by Pistol’s fans (like Steve Morrissey) who […]

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The Manchester Review

Aziz Ibrahim: Lahore to Longsight, HOME, reviewed by James Chonglong Gu

After a brief pre-concert talk with Aziz Ibrahim and his friends, the hugely anticipated big show finally started at 7:30 sharp with a bang. Teaming up with Manchester Camerata (‘probably Britain’s most adventurous orchestra’), Aziz, a proud Manchester native, wowed big time in front of an electrified Mancunian crowd on HOME soil. Special guests of […]

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The Manchester Review

The Hallé at the Bridgewater Hall, reviewed by Simon Haworth

The Hallé at the Bridgewater Hall, conducted by Sir Mark Elder; 5 October 2017. Opening The Hallé’s 2017-18 season at The Bridgewater Hall, and their 160th season overall, is a program consisting of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Stravinsky’s The Firebird, performed in its entirety. Not […]

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The Manchester Review

Circa Survive, The Amulet, reviewed by Simon Haworth

Circa Survive, The Amulet (Hopeless Records, 2017). Signs for this record, the sixth studio album from Philadelphia’s Circa Survive, were looking more than good ever since they began releasing teaser tracks in the summer, four in total: ‘Lustration’, ‘Rites of Investiture’, ‘The Amulet’ and ‘Premonition of the Hex’. The consistency and excellence of those releases […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Sunday’s music, reviewed by Lucy Burns

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 9 2017. At a festival like Bluedot where so much depends on the science talks, the workshops, the demonstrations, the projections, the light shows, the readings…you’d expect the music programming to get left behind. Besides the set of fairly predictable crowd pleasing headliners (Pixies, Orbital, and alt-J) Bluedot […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Saturday’s music, reviewed by Lucy Burns

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 8 2017. At a festival like Bluedot where so much depends on the science talks, the workshops, the demonstrations, the projections, the light shows, the readings…you’d expect the music programming to get left behind. Besides the set of fairly predictable crowd pleasing headliners (Pixies, Orbital, and alt-J) Bluedot […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Radiophonic Workshop, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 9 2017. There’s a quiet thrill of anticipation in the stuffy air of the Orbit tent, early evening of the Bluedot Saturday. It’s the bubble of knowing that witnessing the BBC Radiophonic Workshop live is likely to be a rare and unique pleasure. With Leftfield and Orbital on […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Orbital, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Lovell stage, July 8 2017. With the blazing sun on its way down and the giddy full moon on its way up, the second night of Bluedot needed some suitable music-of-the-spheres to toast the glorious day. Fortunate then that techno pioneers Orbital had set aside their three year indefinite hiatus to […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Delia Derbyshire and Mary Casio, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Delia Derbyshire Day – 80th Anniversary Tribute, Nebula Stage, July 8; Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia, Lovell stage, July 8 2017. At festivals, especially big ones with lots of good stuff going on, you get used to wisps of sound from other tents and stages intruding on your experience. I’ve always […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Pixies, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Lovell stage, July 7 2017. Pixies under the Lovell Telescope with talks on how the universe was formed still ringing in my ears made a strange and beautiful kind of sense. The day was hot and heavy and the crowd that waited at barriers for them for hours beforehand was already […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Ezra Furman & The Boyfriends, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Lovell Stage, July 7 2017. “This is my favorite thing to do in the world” Ezra Furman told an adorning front row at Bluedot on Friday night, “thank you for being here with me.” And as someone shouted up at them, it was a gawd-damn pleasure Ezra! With performances that are […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Leftfield, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 7 2017. Twenty-two years have whipped past since Leftfield released their pioneering album Leftism and joined the ranks of Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy and Orbital in steering British music away from the total heat-death of endless guitars. The Orbit tent is packed for a full performance of the […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Anchorsong, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Nebula stage, July 7 2017. Part of the joy of a festival like Bluedot is happening upon a spare hour and filling it with an act you’ve never heard of and know nothing about. The festival itself makes much of the idea of discovery, so much so that it is practically […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester International Festival: Holly Herndon and Yael Bartana, reviewed by Luke Healey

Dark Matter: Holly Herndon, Gorilla, June 30; Yael Bartana, What if Women Ruled the World?, Mayfield Depot, July 5, 2017. In a blog post dated 9 March, 2017, Manchester International Festival’s Director John McGrath framed the contents of this year’s edition as ‘a picture of the world today’. While McGrath maintains that ‘We don’t set […]

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Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2017, reviewed by Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Glynde Place, June 30-July 2. So, Love Supreme is five. And there was a swing back to jazz (pun intended) this year. Topping the bill on Sunday on the main stages were Robert Glasper and Gregory Porter; and Herbie Hancock ended the day in the Big Top on Saturday. On the […]

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Marli Roode

Maxïmo Park, Albert Hall, reviewed by Marli Roode

We are giddy and overdressed. Our drinks lifted above our heads, we follow each other into gaps to find our place in the crowd. ‘It’s a sold-out show, you know,’ we say to each other. We do know, but it has to be said. It’s the requisite observation at gigs, meaning a rare second place […]

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The Manchester Review

The Japanese House, Gorilla, reviewed by Lydia Walker

The Japanese House: a band that have never been on my radar pops up in an email of new live shows up for reviewing. I conduct a quick Google search and find out that it is in fact the solo project of Buckingham’s Amber Bain. Who is Amber Bain? Turns out she’s collaborated with The […]

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The Manchester Review

Sounds From the Other City, Salford, reviewed by Luke Healey

The thirteenth annual Sounds From the Other City festival took place on 7 May, once again radiating outwards across Salford from the complex around Islington Mill. This area has continued to develop as an epicentre for the more experimental side of Manchester’s independent scene in the twelve months since the festival’s last installment, with satellite […]

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Marli Roode

Youngr, Deaf Institute, reviewed by Marli Roode

The day started in snow and ended in summer. That much you know. Summer was the problem; summer was what got you here, hungover and so opening the doors at every stop on the Metrolink home, trying to breathe in cold air and shuffle events after the gig back into order. Despite the shower, you […]

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The Manchester Review

Marsicans, Deaf Institute, reviewed by Lydia Walker

So I’m asked if I’d like to review this up-and-coming band from Leeds. I’ve admittedly never heard of them and I think, “Why not? Any live music is usually pretty enjoyable.” I agree, and that’s that for a few weeks. The date is approaching and I figure I should listen to some tracks and get […]

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Marli Roode

Bloc Party, Albert Hall, reviewed by Marli Roode

The roof is falling down. Or is it the ceiling? It doesn’t matter. We get what Kele Okereke means. He doesn’t need to be precise. All we know is plaster is coming down, landing on the stage, being held up, cheered. It’s evidence of “rocking hard”. No one rolls their eyes at his conclusion, or […]

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Marli Roode

Phantogram, Deaf Institute, reviewed by Marli Roode

I have a really good time at the Phantogram gig. A good time before it – on what could be described as a double date, but shouldn’t be, given the people and the amount of brinkmanship involved – and a good time afterwards (see above re being on a date). It isn’t until I come […]

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The Manchester Review

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, RNCM, reviewed by Peter Wild

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, RNCM, 19 November 2016 I want you to think about Superman 2 a moment. Specifically the scene where, having fallen in love with Lois Lane, revealed his true identity and voluntarily stripped himself of his powers, Clark Kent finds himself in a diner on the receiving end of a whupping. […]

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The Manchester Review

BBC Philharmonic, The Bridgewater Hall, reviewed by Simon Haworth

BBC Philharmonic, The Bridgewater Hall; ‘Tragedy and Humour, Darkness and Light’: Sibelius, Tapiola / Kaija Saariaho, Notes on Light / Weill, Violin Concerto / Britten, Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes; November 5 2016.   Tapiola, Sibelius’ last great orchestral work before he finally hit the mute button and succumbed to absolute silence at his […]

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The Manchester Review

Parquet Courts, Manchester Academy 2, reviewed by Lydia Walker

Parquet Courts, Manchester Academy 2; October 10 2016. Debuting in 2011 with limited edition cassette EP release American Specialties, I’m not sure if Parquet Courts knew they would be storming festivals three years on, and releasing their fifth (ish) studio album two years later still. I say “ish” as their back-catalogue is eclectic: having already […]

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Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2016, reviewed by Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2016: Glynde Place, July 1-3. Suggesting that Love Supreme drifts further and further from its ‘jazz fest’ status is a bit like complaining that cats are fickle, or that policemen keep getting younger.  But the auguries weren’t good: Brexit, the wettest June on record, the M25 at its customary crawl past a […]

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The Manchester Review

Alessia Cara, Sound Control, reviewed by Marli Roode

Alessia Cara at Sound Control, March 24 2016 After the gig, we went to a bar. I was worried about how I’d write about what’d just happened. My friend Zoe was worried about the state of the world, about the youth of today, about being out of touch and over the hill. She was worried […]

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The Manchester Review

Mariah Carey, Manchester Arena, reviewed by Marli Roode

Mariah Carey, March 18 2016, Manchester Arena (Photograph by David La Chapelle) Mariah is late. There is no support act – who is worthy of supporting Mariah? – and so we wait. So far, everything about the night reminds me of a hen do. Or, more accurately, a parody of a hen do on a […]

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The Manchester Review

GoGo Penguin, Band on the Wall, reviewed by Lydia Walker

“Listening to jazz is not just recognising Gillespie or Coltrane, it’s recognising the philosophy of collective reinvention…and becoming part of it.” Funnily enough, I hear this quote by New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff on BBC Radio 6 the morning I am anticipating watching GoGo Penguin’s sell-out hometown show: one of two consecutive sold […]

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The Manchester Review

Julia Holter, Gorilla, reviewed by Luke Healey

You’ve probably heard something about Julia Holter by now. The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter’s most recent album Have You In My Wilderness (2015) landed top spot in end-of-year lists compiled by Mojo, Uncut and Piccadilly Records, and singles “Feel You”, “Silhouette” and “Everytime Boots” have been rotated on BBC radio. 2013’s Loud City Song, Holter’s first […]

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The Manchester Review

An Ape’s Progress, Manchester Literature Festival, reviewed by James David Ward

Dave McKean, introduced tonight as “the man who wears many hats”, is a constant collaborator, working with everyone from Grant Morrison to Heston Blumethal, and is best known for his longstanding partnership with Neil Gaiman. He has produced accomplished pieces across a number of art forms, from his graphic novels, to his painting, to his […]

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